Data supported decision making

Optimize the use of space today and secure the insights
you need for the workplace of tomorrow

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2. Desk use by department

If your desks have panels or QR codes for check in/out, analyze desk use by department, time of day and day of week.

To meet low density occupancy plans, different teams will probably need to work on different days, so this information will help with space allocation based on actual use in the pre-Covid period. A floorplan-based approach to analysis is a good start as it helps to visualize patterns around different space types and other utilization metrics.

This floorplate provides important information on which spaces in a building are frequently used. It is also possible to get utilization data for past dates, ideal for space planning and decisions around which floors to use.

Get to grips with the latest on agile working-see our guide

Real time availabilty of space like desks and rooms is provided using sensor technology. In addition, a range of presence sensing can be used for check in/out so that there is an end to end workflow, with real time data is the key metric to support facility utilization analysis.

3. Look at meeting room utilization analysis next

Larger spaces are unlikely to be used – meetings will be smaller, with more people joining remotely. However, social distancing will require new capacities assigned to rooms for different styles of layout, so here a careful look at room
occupancy data is essential.

This graph provides information on meeting room occupancy as well as utilization, ideal when considering meeting room reconfiguration options

4. Measuring patterns of space usage

Next, you need to consider space usage to make the right decision on new capacity limits and which rooms to reoccupy. Investigate these two main data sets.
The most relevant data to consider is the most and least used resources.
Then you also need to consider the critical usage patterns for different space types. See the charts below for this second data set.

These graphs support decisions on which spaces to reconfigure based on historical use, so maybe repurpose the least used spaces?

These graphs provide invaluable insights into the types of meetings held, cancellation patterns and the mix between types of space, which may need to change in any reconfiguration plans.

5. Service delivery

Next, consider service delivery, particularly catering, where there will be significant changes. Start by understanding what services have typically been requested by different type and sizes of meetings.

Self-service is one of the main changes and in many cases no catering service may be offered, but staff are encouraged to order F&B using a mobile app-based order and delivery service, potentially using local restaurants rather than in-house catering facilities.

Catering reports (see below) offer valuable insights into how data can be used to take decisions on both the service offering and the delivery approach, factoring thorough cleaning arrangements into the mix.

These graphs indicate how the nature of service delivery, as this may need to change with lower meeting room utilization and the demand for more flex space. The service mix has a significant impact on real estate operating costs.

The Rendezvous Service tracker is an example of an invaluable tool for the FM team to manage service delivery

The Mobile Service Delivery App (above) provides invaluable information to manage service delivery as well as inform departments about key activities; delivering F&B, AV service provision, equipment recovery and urgent cleaning notifications.

6. Building access

Probably the most critical aspect of delivering a safe workplace environment is to manage reception areas and other high traffic density areas efficiently.

The data to support this is usually gathered by your meeting and visitor management solution, supplemented by people counting sensor-based technology.

By triangulating between these two data sets, important decisions can be taken, and a set of business rules created to manage visitor arrival times, circulation within the building and also speedy host notification, which will minimize the risk of people congregating in larger groups.

This visitor analytics graph gives invaluable visitor data that can be used to plan for the new workplace environment.

This graph helps reception to better plan visitor arrivals including provision for host notification and fast check in on a mobile device to speed up the processing of new arrivals. It drives strategies around host notification, fast meet and greet policies and scheduling visitor arrivals linked to meetings in a proactive manner.

7. Accurate real time data is critical to track and trace activity

There are three main data sets:

  • who has used what space and when?
  • what is the interaction between the user and colleagues?
  • who has used an office facility and in what capacity, visitor or contractor? (They might not have been subject to the same track and trace policy as a staff member who has pre-booked a space and followed the check in and out policy, using a contactless card or possibly a QR code.)

Start with the space booking system, evaluate what is available, then complement this data with information from other systems such as visitor management, building management and even digital signage and presence sensing technologies.

The data sets below could offer valuable insights to plan your track and track implementation plan

Phase 2: The Medium Term

As businesses move to a new workplace environment, armed with better data around actual building occupancy, many important decisions will need to be taken.

These decisions will vary significantly by company, based on staff work patterns and actual workplace density, which is likely to include greater working from home, more remote collaboration and probably changes in the way meeting space is used.

How data analysis helps you

The data you collate from the immediate return to work data project will provide valuable insights for actions you take for the medium-term perspective.

Based on what can be anticipated as a result of the pandemic, several important questions will require data support, to inform your decisions on space planning.

If a vaccine is available, and constraints lessen, here are the big questions to consider:

How has home working reduced demand for desk, office and meeting space?
If agile working is adopted, making the transition from assigned desking to desk sharing a reality, what ratios are realistic given activity, culture and office density considerations?
How has meeting room use changed in terms of people numbers, types of meeting and overall utilization? Room sensors can provide a more accurate picture than simply room booking information.
Given the rapid move to greater remote collaboration, what configuration changes are needed to make the best use of space and support the types of meetings taking place in a more formal setting?

All this analysis is possible using the well-honed data analysis you put in place during the Immediate Return to Work phase, with some nuances; technology support, space re-configuration and the overall footprint required to support a different mix of home and office based working.
 
With all that has transpired since lockdown, the real estate team will be much better placed to focus on the “big” space decisions using utilization data related to the new normal, whatever that normal might look like.

This data set helps you to identify spaces that are not being well-utilised to inform decisions about which areas can be reconfigured to assist social distancing and safe working.

Phase 3: Business as usual?

Hard as it is to imagine right now, there will be business as usual at some point – even without a vaccine, the world of business will find ever-inventive ways to work.

Homeworking may remain a big part of the working week; workplaces may be able to downsize because of that or might have to remain large to accommodate long-term social distancing.

We just don’t know. But we do know that business must go on, employees must be protected, and the focus will always remain on efficiency, productivity and wellbeing, and on keeping operational costs down.

In this changing landscape, data will provide a transparently trustworthy guide. Moving ahead without it will be like stumbling down a dark path.

So whatever stage your business has reached on your phased return to work, I would urge you to beef up your data capture and analysis capabilities immediately. It’s a sound investment that will never stop providing benefits.

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